Airbnb launching campaign to cover more Thai provinces

American unicorn startup Airbnb said last week it would launch a new campaign promoting homestays in Thailand’s emerging cities through a community destination program after finding success with homestays in Buriram province during the 2018 MotoGP event.

The program complements campaigns by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to enlighten travelers about the wealth of attractions in the Kingdom’s destinations apart from the most visited ones: Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui.

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s head of public policy for Southeast Asia, said more tourists using Airbnb had indicated a preference for visiting less-explored cities such as Hat Yai in the Deep South and Chiang Rai in the Far North.

Goh said that Airbnb wants to help Thai communities tap into the rapidly expanding digital tourism market. Thailand is a global tourism success story, and Airbnb said the industry accounted for 21 percent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product last year.

Buriram, a farming province in the lower northeast that attracted few tourists, has emerged as a regional sports center in recent years and is now on the map for visitors.

Goh said that Buriram is now drawing enough visitors that home-sharing is needed to provide sufficient accommodation. For this year’s MotoGP, which took place last week, Airbnb’s booking in the province rose by 96 percent. The company said that 430 guests, with an average length of stay of three nights, found homestays through its website.

Airbnb is operating in Thailand, even though existing laws do not cover its services. Government officials have said, however, that they are open to changing laws and regulations to allow for homestays.

Goh said that the company met with Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda last week and provided him with information to support the possibility of legalizing the home-sharing business in Thailand.

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